Highlights from the recent talk on Forgiveness vs. Guilt
Forgiveness has positive health and spiritual effects
- Shame and Guilt - the opposite.
Shame and Guilt increase pro-inflammatory factors such as C Reactive protein which have been incriminated in atherosclerosis, certain cancers and some autoimmune diseases. Shame is more pernicious than guilt and can damage the psyche. With either we feel bad about who we are as against remorse where we feel bad about what we did. Poor self concept leads to more bad behavior and less control so we should substitute remorse for shame or guilt.
Forgiveness enhances our immune system and our spirituality.
Self compassion creates self worth and has been called Universal Self Acceptance (U.S.A.) and Unconditional Positive Regard. We are all worthy of U.S.A.
“To err is human, to forgive Divine”
We all do bad things but that does not make us bad. Its best to judge the action and not the person.
Besides U.S.A. and spiritual practice to modulate ego and monkey mind there are other caveats that can help.
What can one learn from the event?
Pain is inevitable, suffering optional!
Do not enable and admit to the unskillfulness. - let go of remorse soon, talk it out with someone you trust and treat yourself like a good friend. Suppression aggravates. It helps to know if it was intentional or related to a unique cultural issue and an apology should be healing.
Forgiveness is expansive and heroic - being a victim causes contraction and loss of power.
Self righteous indignation rarely helps and its better to be effective with the challenge rather than right.
Revenge or vengeance is very bad karma!
Resolve all unfinished business before death and take the skeletons of failed relationships with loved ones out of the closet. Forgiveness is even more important for the one who is doing the forgiving.
Remember that at the end of the day karma will reconcile all grievances so have compassion.
These are the steps required to wipe one's karmic slate clean when asking for forgiveness.